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Good Tuesday to you. It's the quiet time before camp starts and you're just hoping your favorite players stay out of trouble. But we've got a few stories you need to know about so let's get to it.
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Newton is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and the team doesn't want to get him beat up this year. He had a career low 90 rushing attempts last season, and that number could be even a little less this season. With new weapons like RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel, Newton has better options around him. Short passes/dump offs can replace his scrambling and maintain his fantasy value. Newton can still be a top-10 fantasy quarterback even if he scrambles less often. He's currently QB8 (8.07) in 12-team PPR leagues.
"Brett has a sharp football mind, a tremendous work ethic and a keen eye for finding talent. Over the last four seasons he's played a critical role in building our football team. I look forward to working with him to continue to build on the strong foundation we have in place," Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. Veach has a long history with Andy Reid, dating back to their days with the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton may be instructed to run less this year, but head coach Ron Rivera still believes the Panthers will have an explosive offense. Rivera said his goal is for the Panthers to remain a run-focused team without Newton having to run too much.
Rivera should be confident in the offense as they have better weapons alongside Newton in 2017. Running back Christian McCaffrey is a dangerous runner who is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. The Panthers made him a top-10 pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and McCaffrey is a versatile weapon who doesn't have to come off the field. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel is a big play just waiting to happen. Drafted in the second round this year, Samuel can turn short passes into long gains with his speed and agility. Newton may run less this year, but the Panthers offense may be more dangerous than ever.
Ebron had a breakout year in 2016, finishing with 61 catches for 711 yards. His one touchdown was a bummer and held his fantasy value down, as last year Ebron finished the season as the no16 fantasy tight end. With more targets near pay dirt, Ebron could have better fantasy numbers. The Lions added noted touchdown hog Mike Roberts in the 2017 NFL draft, and we'll see if he cuts into the routes run by Ebron in the red zone.
Thomas was hurt on the first play of the first game in 2016, but he played through the pain and still ended the season as a top-20 fantasy WR. This year he gets his play back (WR screen) with OC Mike McCoy running the show. Yes, the quarterback position is up in the air but Thomas is going to be the centerpiece of what the Broncos do offensively. Fantasy owners are expecting a bounce-back season as he's getting drafted at WR14 (3.05) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Miami Dolphins WR Kenny Stills' nine receiving touchdowns last year were the sixth-most in the NFL, and Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post believes Stills' success will continue this season and can be largely credited to head coach Adam Gase.
Stills was an excellent vertical threat in the Dolphins offense last year. He could lose opportunity to DeVante Parker in a possible breakout season, but if the Miami offense improves in year two under Gase and gets better health on the offensive line, that could make up for Stills becoming the clear #3. He's a good late round best ball pick.
Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders said he believes he can produce with either QB Trevor Siemian or QB Paxton Lynch as the starter because they throw catchable passes. 'Both of those guys throw catchable passes,' Sanders said. 'When it comes to the deep ball, Paxton loves to throw the deep ball. Big, strong arm. Trevor, he loves to throw the out routes, the in-routes. He's a checkdown, all-around type guy.'
Sanders is being a bit coy here and playing it friendly. Behind the scenes it would be easy to see a player like him preferring the guy that wants to go deep. Sanders himself is a deep threat who can thrive on big plays. The quarterback best fit for those type of passes is Lynch. It's an "open" competition in training camp but if the lightbulb comes on for Lynch then the 2016 first-round pick could be named the starter.
We can't imagine the Eagles hanging onto Mathews. If he's healthy enough to release, that's likely the direction the team goes. There have been reports to the contrary but there's really no room for him on the roster. They have LeGarrette Blount as the two-down hammer and guys like Darren Sproles and rookie DJ Pumphrey for passing down work. By waiting until he passes a physical, the Eagles don't have to pay him any money and can extinguish the $4 million cap hit Mathews is set to have.
Welcome to beautiful North Dakota! Wentz is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game today, and the Eagles did a good job of adding better pass-catching talent around him this offseason. Matthews had the best quote during a live video by Jeffery. "We out here in North Dakota. Ain't no rap stations on the radio or nothing baby," Matthews said. "Straight bison burgers, country music, and red heads. Shoutout to Carson Wentz."
The Pats are jam-packed at the position, but Amendola took a pay cut earlier this year and that greatly helps his chances. He was slated to make $6 million in 2017, but now his cap hit is just a little over $3 million. Amendola's main competition for a spot (the last one?) on the depth chart is free agent addition Andrew Hawkins.
Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas is one of three players in NFL history with five or more consecutive seasons with at least 90 receptions and at least 1,000 yards, and he said he thinks he still has a couple of good years left.
Thomas is feeling better after a hip injury limited him for a lot of last year. He'll benefit from more screen passes under new (old) offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and should be a WR1 in PPR leagues this year.
Boldin would be a big upgrade at the #2 receiver spot for Buffalo even at this late stage of his career, although the team doesn't use a slot receiver as much as the Lions did last year. Boldin might have to wait for an injury to an established receiver to get a call from a team.
He was a 4-3 defensive end in college but Rex Ryan wanted him to play outside linebacker in the Bills 3-4 last season. That just didn't fit his game and Lawson struggled through injuries as a rookie. More comfortable and in a better fit, Lawson can thrive as an edge-setting defensive end.
San Francisco 49ers WR Aldrick Robinson has a chance to be a situational player with the ability to start if another receiver suffers an injury, in the opinion of 49ers.com's Joe Fann. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has worked with Robinson over the last few seasons.
The 49ers are in need of a no3 wide receiver behind Pierre Garcon and Jeremy Kerley. That could be Robinson, and his familiarity with the system gives him an advantage over other reserve receivers on the roster. His main competition should be former Bills speedster Marquise Goodwin.
The 49ers made Thomas the no3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft for a reason. He's built for a large workload and has the tenacity that should make him a nightmare for opponents. Thomas has strength, snap anticipation and pursuit speed/burst to be a playmaker.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson may lose his No. 2 wide receiver position quickly, in the opinion of the New York Post's Brian Costello. Costello believes Anderson needs to become a more complete receiver, including becoming a better route-runner.
Quincy Enunwa is the no1 wide receiver for the Jets, but behind him are a bunch of question marks...including Anderson. We saw Anderson have a bit of a breakout in the second half of last season, but he never had over 100 yards receiving in a game. The uncertainty at quarterback means the fantasy value is low for Anderson. His main competition for the no2 job will be rookie third-round pick ArDarius Stewart. In college at Alabama, Stewart was known as a hyper competitive player who could put up a fight for snaps/targets with Anderson.
Rookie contracts are slotted these days, so a holdout for Peppers is unlikely. There are things like guaranteed money and offset language that can hold things up, and that seems to be the case here. Most picks around Peppers (25th overall) are already signed, but the pick right in front of him -- no24 Gareon Conley (Raiders) has yet to get his contract signed.
Tennessee Titans QB Alex Tanney will have a chance to compete with QB Matt Cassel for the backup quarterback job during training camp, according to Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com, and while Wyatt believes Cassel's experience gives him an edge, he said it is possible Tennessee decides to keep three quarterbacks.
A lot of teams are keeping three quarterbacks now for developmental purposes. If the Titans see any potential in Tanney, they will find a spot for him even if he can't beat out Cassel to back up Marcus Mariota.
Jennings is fresh off of a stint on Dancing with the Stars. His pass blocking and receiving should get him a look as we get closer to the beginning of the season and teams assess the readiness of their younger backs to handle passing down work.